26 March 2019

South Africa: Labour Hosts National Minimum Wage Seminar for Chinese Employers

press release

Eradicating poverty and improving the lives of workers is of high priority for both government and Chinese employers

Addressing Chinese employers at a breakfast session held in Lagoon Beach Hotel in Cape Town, Inspector-General Aggy Moiloa said, "If you see an inspector in your work-place, see someone who is there to assist you". Moiloa was speaking at a seminar for Chinese employers on the implementation of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in accordance with the NMW Act which became effective from the 1st of January 2019.

The seminar hosted by the Department of Labour's Statutory and Advocacy Services unit within the Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch have identified Chinese employers around the country as one of key stakeholders in ensuring the implementation of the NMW.

Unpacking the NMW Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) Amendments, Dr Pravin Naidoo told employers that if they don't comply with the new law, they will face a sanction where they will pay an amount equal to twice the value of the underpayment or twice the monthly wage, whichever is greater.

David Esau, Provincial Chief Inspector in the Western Cape, presented findings of a recent inspection at China Towns, which indicated that Chinese employers were well on their way to becoming compliant with South African labour laws. "This is as a result of the on-going partnership between Chinese businesses and the Department of Labour."

Poverty alleviation came out strong on the day with the Chinese Consulate supporting the NMW as a tool to close the wage gap and to overcome poverty.

Deputy Consul General, Lia Cao, emphasized that Poverty alleviation is a core task for all the developing countries and both South Africa and China can share ideas and learn from each other on how we can better eradicate poverty in our countries."

"We appreciate the Department of Labour to grant the Chinese community an opportunity to sit down with us to explain better the laws that we need to follow and abide with.

"There are more than 20 000 foreign Chinese living in SA and huge investment is put into Cape Town and South Africa as a whole from China. With this partnership we call all the Chinese community to work together with the government to help boost the economy of the city and help alleviate poverty," added Cao.

Fikiswa Mncanca, Chief Director, endorsed the message of the Consul General adding that: "South Africa belongs to all who live in it and that includes the Chinese community. You are part of our economy and together we can alleviate poverty". Mncanca added that while this is the first event of its nature, it definitely won't be the last.

The seminar shared with the Chinese employers more knowledge on the labour laws like the Unemployment Insurance Act, CCMA processes, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Compensation for Occupation Injuries and Diseases Act.

The NMW sets the minimum which a worker must be paid. According to the law; all workers must earn a minimum rate of R20.00 per hour. The Act applies to all sectors.

The objectives of the Chinese seminar on NMW are:

To inform Chinese employers about the new NMW legislation and amendments on other legislations.

To inform them on exemption of certain sectors and how to apply for exemption.

To share knowledge on best practices to ensure compliance.

Issued by: Department of Labour

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